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NME, 22nd June 1985, "Lunatic Fringe: Biting Tongues: Feverhouse LP "

'Feverhouse' - The Soundtrack (Factory)

MANCHESTER'S BITING Tongues have always gravitated toward the performance side of Rip, Rig And Panickyness. As a result, some of their inventive vibrance in early years was curdled by irritating pretension. Much of this changed when their mouthpiece, Ken Hollings (who wrote Feverhouse's script) channelled his energies into being startlingly readable within the pages of the magazine Performance.

The main forces behind the twin project of film and music are Howard Walmsley (director of the film), Colin Seddon and Graham Massey. The Tongues have always excelled in delivering ominous voodoo thumpings and clickings, loosely bound by tape-doctored brass. This tip-top collection of neat sound ideas identifies the fellows as one of the rare compounds of young upstarts not to be too impressed by their own command of jazz' and 'improvisation'.

As far as the visual images go, you need a few key words to get the hand of the action, viz: institution, dingy, green distemper, cream distemper, nurse, inmate, sinister plumbing ... a sort of domestic Eraserhead. We're taken through kitschy laboratory burbling a la Throbbing Gristle over which a blaring trumpet swoops into a circular swarm of voices: devil worship on a station concourse? Prayer meeting at an indoor swimming pool? Or just babbling inmates playing Chinese Whispers?

As the peeling distemper image begins to get too much, there is a switch to a Henry Mancini mood. A long stretch of nightmarish instrumental hints that all is not going well for one of the inmates, at least.

If you haven't seen the film you might like to try out a bit of Music & Movement, like you did at school... listen to the sounds and make the appropriate action, for this LP deserves to be more than avant garde wallpaper. Maybe you feel like a snowdrop pushing its way up through the pebbly earth ... or a laboratory monkey with two heads, each head smoking 50 cigs a day ... however, the real poser comes in the last part, which sounds like someone's Durutti Column album is stuck in a groove. Now children, pretend you're Vini Reilly spinning round and round on the spot ...

Cath Carroll